Expression of markers Ki-67, nestin, VEGF, CD34 and apoptosis in relatively healthy lung tissue with non-changed and metaplastic bronchial epithelium

Kaiva Zīle Zariņa (Coresponding Author), Māra Pilmane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Knowledge about the occurrence of processes such as proliferation, apoptosis
and angiogenesis in healthy lung tissues with different bronchial epitheliums is limited, and further
exploration can contribute to a better understanding of the physiological renewal of lung tissues.
The processes mentioned above occur with the help of important tissue factors; therefore, the aim of
the study was to determine the expression of markers Ki-67, nestin, CD34 and vascular endothelial
growth factor (VEFG) and detect apoptotic cells in relatively healthy lung tissue. Methods: Samples of
relatively healthy lung tissue were obtained from 19 patients and divided into groups of patients with
non-changed and patients with metaplastic bronchial epithelium. Tissue samples were examined
by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Ki-67, nestin, VEGF and CD34-positive cells were detected by
the immunohistochemistry method. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) dUTP nick-end
labeling (TUNEL) assay was carried out to detect apoptotic cells. The number of positive structures
was counted semi-quantitatively by microscopy. Results: Ki-67-positive cells were detected in only
one case. An occasional to moderate number of nestin-positive structures was found in various tissues
of relatively healthy lungs with different bronchial epitheliums. No apoptotic cells were seen in nonchanged bronchial epithelium, compared with few apoptotic cells in metaplastic bronchial epithelium.
Metaplastic bronchial epithelium contained more VEGF-positive cells than non-changed bronchial
epithelium. Samples with non-changed, and metaplastic bronchial epithelium both contained a
similar number of CD34-positive structures. Conclusions: Proliferative activity and programmed cell
death are not prominent events in normal lung tissue. A moderate number of nestin-positive cells in
the alveolar epithelium and cartilage of bronchi with pseudostratified ciliated epithelium suggests a
significant role of neuronal origin cells in these structures, to be intensified in metaplastic bronchial
epithelium. A practically non-changed number of CD34-positive cells excludes any difference in
stimulation of endothelial origin cells between lungs with different types of epithelium, while an
increase in VEGF in structures with metaplastic epithelium suggests the presence/influence of tissue
ischemia impact on possible development/maintenance of metaplasia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages14
JournalMedical sciences (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Ki-67
  • apoptosis
  • VEGF
  • CD34
  • bronchial epithelium

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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